Case for Carolina
Cyril Armel: The x-factors are Kris Jenkins and Brice Johnson. Both of these teams go as these two leaders go. Jenkins needs to get his shot going early. Johnson needs to be his usual double-double self. Carolina’s offensive patience and desire to get shot attempts as close to the basket as possible will certainly test Nova’s resolve inside. Nova will need Ryan Arcidiacono and Josh Hart to win their match-up with Marcus Paige and Joel Berry. Nova was able to key in on Hield and company early on in the Final Four, but if Carolina is as solid on the offensive glass as they’ve been throughout the tournament, advantage certainly goes to the Heels.
Ryan Kirk: My pick for tonight’s game is the North Carolina Tar Heels. Villianova will try to expose UNC with a lot of ball screens to create mismatches. UNC will survive to come out on top with points in transition, using size advantage and just experience across the board. I think Johnson, Meeks, and Hicks will be too much for Nova in the paint. UNC won’t chuck 3s on almost every possession like Oklahoma did in the Final Four. Nova will have to pay for being undersized against the soon to be National Champs North Carolina Tar Heels.
Case for Villanova
BJ Boyer: North Carolina is a well-coached team that wields a lot of depth and experience, but I look for the Villanova Wildcats to continue their dominant run by capturing that elusive NCAA Championship. It seems as if Nova’s impressive tournament scamper has been fueled by destiny, and that coupled with their excellent defense and efficient offense makes it hard for me to pick against them. The key to this matchup is going to be the battle in the paint, as Daniel Ochefu and the rest of Nova’s bigs will have to fend off the behemoths on North Carolina’s frontline. It’s going to take a team effort to corral every rebound, and it’s imperative Ochefu stays out of foul trouble. Would I be surprised if UNC emerged victorious? No. But I expect Wildcats to walk out of Houston champs.
Martin Soaries: I expect North Carolina to win this game, but making an argument for Villanova isn’t too difficult. Nova is at a clear disadvantage, as were most team’s this season, against the size, length, and activity of Carolina. Although, Villanova has an advantage in quickness and perimeter play. I think Villanova can actually look to challenge Carolina in a scoring battle by putting pressure on the Tar Heels to have to defend multiple guys off the dribble. It will come down to the decision-making of the Wildcats, and I think Nova actually has a chance to play Carolina very well with man-to-man defense.
Tune in and chat with us during our broadcast for the national championship.